New Campus means new way of thinking

By Amy Fredette

Arizona Summer Wildcat

The official name and location have yet to be determined, but New Campus in Pima County, the fourth university in Arizona, is set to open its doors to the community of Tucson fall of 1996.

New Campus is contracting with NBBJ, an independent Seattle-based firm, to assess possible sites for the institution.

So far, the two potential locations are the IBM facility on South Rita Road and a downtown site proposed and donated by the city of Tucson, located on West Congress Street near the Santa Cruz River and extending down almost to 22nd Street.

The most important criteria according to the Community Advisory Committee when selecting the permanent site, should be related to the opportunity of New Campus to fulfill its mission, said Celestino Fernandez, executive vice president and provost of New Campus in Pima County.

"The mission is very strong, distinctive and practical undergraduate education with an international focus," he said.

Fernandez added that the mission of New Campus is different from the UA in that New Campus will offer a smaller environment, smaller classes and regular untenured faculty. Also, students will have the oppor

tunity to interact with their instructors both inside and outside of the classroom.

"Bigness is not always the best," said Katie Dusenberry, vice president of Horizon Moving Systems and member of the New Campus Community Advisory Committee. "A university that stays within a moderate range of enrollment, instead of getting bigger, makes it more cohesive and attracts professors to a more manageable situation."

"I think it's a wonderful idea because it will allow the UA to stay at a constant enrollment," she said.

Sharon Kha, UA senior officer for institutional advancement, agrees that one of the attractions of New Campus is its size.

"This state has no small universities," she said. "We are planning ahead to the future to give students the choice to go to a small university. Not everyone wants to go to a 35,0000-student campus or a research university."

Kha also mentioned that there will come a time when large universities will no longer be able to continue to "stuff" people into their institutions.

She said that there is always the option to make universities bigger in order to accommodate increased enrollment, but that a new approach, such as the one exemplified by New Campus, is an excellent decision.

"It's a great idea to meet enrollment growth in the future," she said.

According to the institution's mission statement, the four-year interdisciplinary liberal arts college promises to offer "distinctive liberal arts and practical undergraduate education," "innovativeness," "new ideas" and "international perspectives."

"Our institution would compliment the UA and Pima Community College," Fernandez said. "We're not interested in duplicating."

John Boyer, UA professor of medicine and member of the New Campus Academic Planning Advisory Committee, added that New Campus is distinctly different from the UA which will remain a research-oriented institution.

New Campus will also have different policies from the UA which will be fewer and more flexible, Fernandez said.

For example, if approved by the State Board of Regents, the institution will offer multi-year contracts instead of tenure.

Not only will the entrance requirements for the New Campus be the same as the UA, but so will tuition and fees.

However there is an additional requirement directed toward future students.

"(Students) must be principally interested in being engaged to participate in their education," Fernandez said.

"I don't believe in passive education," he said. "True education only works when you're engaging yourself in it."

As for academic plans, an Academic Planning Advisory Committee has been working for a semester to develop the curriculum.

"We don't know how it will turn out, but we're hoping to bring the intimacy of a small liberal arts college with an emphasis on teaching to a future enrollment of 10,000," Boyer said.

"(New Campus) will combine the philosophy of liberal arts with an open mind and free-thinking, along with the practical side of education in order (for a student) to be able to engage in a future career," he said.

Boyer said that New Campus will place a strong emphasis on engaging its students to become more involved with the community of Tucson. All students will be required to participate in a voluntary community service project.

"We are going to a community-oriented university," he said. "This will be good for students as well as citizens."

Fernandez said the school will offer on-campus work study programs, because he believes that students who spend a lot of time on campus tend to thrive academically.

"They stay in their programs through graduation more so than students who don't have those opportunities," he said.

The university will offer intramural athletics, but no intercollegiate athletics.

New Campus will begin with a freshman class the first year and then integrate sophomores, juniors and seniors each following year, so that by the fourth year, all years will be represented.

Fernandez added that starting enrollment will be "modest," about 100 people. By the year 2010, the new university is projecting maximum enrollment capacity to total 10,000 students.

Dusenberry said she thinks it will be "undoubtedly less expensive to operate" and that a "lower level of tuition" will provide another option for students.

"We will be working very hard to prepare students to live and work in the world in which they're going to live, which is the next century," Fernandez said. "We're looking at a future model of education.

"In terms of an undergraduate institution, I hope that we are a model for others to follow."

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